Holidays, French Style1
by Austin and Alicia Morris
Greetings WPC family fron France!
This edition will be about what it is like to celebrate the holidays in Normandy.
I will always remember our first Thanksgiving here last year as the most multi-cultural we will likely ever have. I celebrated this all-American holiday speaking more French than English. Our dinner table included three French people, four Americans, a Mexican, a German, and a Brit. Our friends who hosted the event, despite not having a real oven and only two stove burners, creatively managed to deliver a spectacular meal, trimmings and all! (Side note: Because buildings are so old in France, a sole cabinet, sink and mini-fridge often pass for a "kitchen"!).
Our Thanksgiving this year was a much quieter affair, celebrated with two of our closest friends here on the Saturday after Thansgiving (since we work on Thursday and Friday!). The meal didn't actually include any turkey, because as this holiday is not celebrated in France, it is ridiculously difficult to buy a turkey unless you order from the butcher shop over a week in advance. However, my proudest dish was a gourmet macaroni and cheese considering France is the mecca of all fancy cheeses, like Gruyere, Camembert, Brie... yum, yum!
It is an odd experience teaching French children about the Thanksgiving tradition that is so intrinsic to our culture, yet so foreign to them. Without fail, in several classes when I mentioned the word Thanksgiving as the topic of the day, they thought I was teaching them the English word for "Noel" (meaning Christmas).
Christmas will also be full of cultural surprises this year. We will be journeying across the Channel to Manchester, England to celebrate with one of our British friends and his family. We are really excited and grateful for this opportunity to spend this holiday with friends and experience some new holiday traditions.
Even as we are homesick for our family and friends back home, we are incredibly blessed that God brought us to France. We are grateful that He is using this experience to broaden our perspective of the world and to blossom our marriage in its first few years.
Alicia and Austin